Top reasons people get fired

Employees across the nation find themselves out of a job each day. While some might be laid off or suffer an injury that prevents them from working, the majority are fired. Of course, no two firings are the same. Here are the top reasons why employers fire their staff. 

Bad Performance

The most frequently cited reason is poor performance, but this category is just as broad as the reasons why employees are fired. It can be related to the number of errors an employee makes, their speed when completing tasks, missing deadlines, or just poor judgement. Whatever the cause, this is when the employee does not meet their expected job duties. 

Missing too Much Work

Everyone needs time off now and again to recuperate, recover from an illness, or take care of urgent obligations. However, some employees call in sick at an alarming rate. While each employer has their own idea about how much is too much, this is an easy way to lose a job. 

Coming in Late and Leaving Early

These two reasons are lumped into tardiness or just not being at work when you should be. It’s more common for an employer to fire an employee who is consistently late for their shifts. Every minute a worker is late either pushes back the workload or places increased stress on other employees. 

There are workers who routinely leave their jobs early, too. This has the same effect as clocking in late, but can also cause other employees to have to work longer hours. If someone left early without completing their tasks, for instance, others might have to pick up the slack. 


Believe it or not, 40% of managers have fired their employees for theft. That can include everything from cash in the register to company tools and supplies. In some cases, personal use of company property can also count as stealing. Playing games on a work desktop or using the printer to make yard sale fliers are good examples. 

Drinking and Drugs

This reason is self-explanatory, but a surprising 35.2% of employees lose their job over substance abuse. Even in cases where a drink on the job doesn’t create a dangerous environment, alcohol and other drugs can cause employees to clash with company policy in their behavior. 

Gossip, Language, and Relationships

People talk in the workplace, but excessive gossip often causes issues between employees that management ends up having to resolve. These issues often lead to hostility, which is why employers cite this as a reason for firing their staff. 

A foul mouth is another way to lose your job, but what constitutes as inappropriate language changes from one industry to the next. As for relationships, romantic or otherwise, mixing business with pleasure is never advised. When couples separate but remain coworkers, conflict is almost sure to follow. 

Disputing Termination

While an employer can cite any of these common reasons, their decision to fire an employee isn’t always justified. If you feel that you’ve lost your position unfairly, then you’ll need to hire lawyers for wrongful termination that can make your case in court. You have a right to compensation in these cases, but it’s nearly impossible to prove an unjustified firing on your own.